Saturday, February 21, 2015

How I accidentally ended up at the Turkish equivalent of bachelorette party

Here was the information I found posted on a public Facebook events page:

Ladies, up for a henna tattoo? read the comment attached.

"Oh cool," I thought. "I don't know much about Turkish culture and I've never tried henna. It sounds fun and casual. Why not?" I went stag, as is so often my custom, figuring that I would be one of many strangers mingling and enjoying a lovely ritual together.

The Awkward started as soon as I arrived. I tried to enter through the wrong door, then realized everyone inside (who I could see) was wearing headscarves. I felt strangely naked and wondered whether I should leave; I didn't want to offend anyone with my ignorance and disrespect. To my relief, several other young women were also bareheaded. I summoned my most social, courageous self and found an open seat at a table.

It quickly became apparent that not only was this not a typical community event, I was literally the only person there who didn't know anyone else - and who didn't know that there was an actual bride for whom the party was thrown. As I introduced myself to the women who visited my table, they asked me who I knew, and I was forced to admit that I was apparently the one weird stranger who had found the event through Facebook. They welcomed me graciously, but with puzzled expressions.

I wondered whether I should go, but everyone seemed genuinely friendly and there was the promise of an mouthwatering buffet of Turkish food... so I decided to lean into it. I made a couple of friends, ate a ton of fantastic food, and danced with a bunch of beautiful, stylish Turkish women. I felt like I was in a SIFF film.

Eventually feeling like the odd man out overwhelmed my bravery, so I left before the henna - the only part of the event that had actually been advertised. But at least I had an adventure!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Stitch Fix #12

See Stitch Fix #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11
Would you like to try Stitch Fix? Sure you would! (Thank you for the Fix credit!)
Check out my style inspiration board.

Every time I think I've given up on Stitch Fix, I end up crawling back to them. I know why: I love the surprise. I love the questionnaire (even though I would prefer more questions to be on a continuum rather than drop-down, single answer only). I love reading other people's reviews and I love writing my own. But I don't feel loved by Stitch Fix and since I'm not a teenager anymore, I try not to love people who don't love me back. But! Here we are again, so let's get on with it.

Here's the cheery note that came in my box (entirely [sic]):

Hi Inness! Happy Fix day! We are currently out of the Kut From the Kloth jeans in red, but will keep an eye out for you, we can also keep an eye out for body con dresses as well [fun fact: I asked for jeans I'd seen in other recent bloggers' boxes; a pullover sweater; more tops; and a body con dress. I got one top and nothing else even close to what I'd requested; so much for that!]. I started you off with the Market and Spruce Wrap dress, this will look great on your figure and the pattern is fun! Pair it with the Skies are Blue Faux Leather Jacket for an added pop of edginess..perfect for a date night! For more casual occasions the Mavi Skinny jeans are super comfortable, a great wardrobe staple for everyday wear! Have fun trying these on! xo, Jessica

1. Market & Spruce "Zelda" ikat print wrap dress, $78



Wrap dresses are good in theory, but they annoy me in practice because you have to wear a slip or camisole + slip underneath. If you don't, it looks pretty sexy but you really have to worry about any passing breeze. This one passed muster because I liked the print, it was a fit and flare style so it flattered my body, and Tyler said I should keep it - he never cares about clothes. It was the only thing in my box that I liked, but I balked at the price. I feel like I could find an equally pretty, flimsy dress at TJ Maxx or Marshall's or whatever.

Verdict: kept.

2. Mavi "Yasmin" skinny jean, $98


I was intrigued by these pants when I took them out of the box. They're stretchy, like maternity pants or jeggings, but thicker and seemingly higher quality. They're high waist and very 1950s, which I like. The lack of pockets worried me, but they were surprisingly flattering. Although I wouldn't necessarily say they did anything special for my butt (that pose looks good in any pant), they also didn't actively work against it. Unfortunately the price deterred me and I wanted them to be even HIGHER waisted. I am particular about my pant rises.

Verdict: returned.

3. Pixley "Tracy" dot print cross back knit top, $58


Can you believe this shirt is $58? Hahahahahaha, AS IF. It's just a regular ol' knit shirt, a notch above Target quality but not by much, and bound to pill within a wash or two. The elastic cuffs annoy me and feel childish along with the cutesy polka dots, whereas the cut reminds me of a maternity top. Although I can pooch my stomach out very convincingly, I am in fact NOT pregnant.

Verdict: returned.

4. Skies are Blue "Terese" quilted faux leather jacket, $88


I appreciated this edgy addition to my box, but I already have a faux leather jacket that I love, plus the sleeves were too long and the fit too boxy and unflattering.

Verdict: returned.

5. Bancroft "Leighton" metal bauble necklace, $34


This necklace was fine but just nothing special in my estimation. I like statement necklaces, and gold jewelry, and I liked that the length was adjustable, but I couldn't imagine myself reaching for this necklace to complement any of my outfits.

Verdict: returned.

So there you have it! Better than returning everything, but I'd like to be REALLY enthused about my next box, if there will be a next box.. There probably will be. I just can't seem to help myself.

Friday, January 23, 2015

An American blogger in Paris, part two

See part one!

Honestly, it's been so long that I'm probably mixing up some of the order of what all we did. And I haven't even talked about our first Parisian dinner! How did I forget that?

Tyler and I visited Au Pied du Sacré Coeur twice during our visit because it was so nice. We wandered into this little restaurant around 9 our first night, hungry and a little out of our element. We'd already had some trouble with credit cards and the Metro and we just wanted something nice to eat, served by nice people. Au Pied far exceeded our expectations - the servers were so kind and patient with us; I know a little French but Tyler knows none, and they didn't seem the least bit exasperated by that. The prices were reasonable, and the plates were huge and filled with all kinds of tasty things. I had the duck and it was mouthwateringly good. The wine was also splendid and inexpensive. If you're ever near Montmartre and you want to have a good meal served by friendly people, this is the place.



Anyway, one of the days it rained, and rained, and RAINED. It wasn't Seattle rain; it was hard, soak-you-to-the-bone-in-minutes rain. We occasionally took shelter in cafes, but we couldn't eat the whole day, so we mostly just accepted our soggy fates.

Left: Even the statues were miserable. Right: Tyler and I visited a restaurant specializing in buckwheat crepes and hard cider.

French nerds DO exist!


The celebrated Pierre Hermé pâtisserie. (Tyler's shirt is different because we had to go home and change out of our sopping wet clothes.)
Eventually we gave up and went home to watch "The Talented Mr. Ripley" with French subtitles. The next day was much better, and we explored the Canal St-Martin and Belleville neighborhoods.

If you've seen "Amelie," I believe this is where she frees her goldfish as a child.

We thought this was funny because it was a sugar cube. Get it? Sugar Daddy. (This was the only cafe where the waitress lived up to the rude Parisian stereotype.)

A view walking up to the Parc de Belleville. 

View from the Parc de Belleville.


Then we took our Pierre Hermé macarons to Père Lachaise Cemetery to eat atop a tombstone, a tradition Taite and I began on our visit in 2011. The contrast of death with a colorful (and delicious) celebration of life is one that tickles me.



As we explored, we took the opportunity to tease the residents. "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; for those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow will frolic through graveyards.."

I tried to copy this guy's casually cool reclining pose and failed miserably. 
Got your nose! But I gave it back just in case, so he wouldn't curse me.
They seemed displeased by our pesky insouciance.



We stayed so long that we missed the optimal time to visit the Catacombs; by the time we got there, the line was terribly long. So we gave up on that and just walked around instead.




"I don't want to be your friend on Facebook."

The beautiful Place des Vosges


We took a quick stroll over to Ile de la Cité to visit Notre-Dame (just the outside) and eat ice cream.
On our last day in Paris, we collected an assortment of treasures for family members and fancy vacuum-packed cheeses. On our last night in Paris, we watched the sun set behind the Eiffel Tower and snuggled on the grass as the lights twinkled.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Adventures in hair

A couple of years ago, I confessed to Tyler that I'd always wanted to be perceived as "cool and charming."

"You're not either of those things," he said. He went on to say that I was a better adjective, like "alluring," but it was TOO LATE. Dreams crushed.

I keep trying though. I am convinced that cool, charming girls typically have their hair game on point, so as part of my mission I recently acquired a curling wand. (Never mind that my hair is naturally curly, it is not naturally Cool & Charming Girl Curly.)

After testing it, I became certain that either a) I am still hair cursed or b) I didn't know what I was doing. (That I had chosen the wrong size of wand also occurred to me, but I wasn't quite ready to give up on it.)

The lighting in my bathroom is HORRENDOUS URG.


I spent a considerable portion of my day researching curling wand tutorials and I still don't feel that I am any closer to enlightenment or to coolness and charm, but I am ever the optimist. I will bend this curling wand to my will or burn my hair off trying.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

An American blogger in Paris, part one

I bet I'm the millionth person to use that title, but whatever. Sooo.. SIX MONTHS AGO, Tyler and I went to France together. We went because he had never been, and because our friend Aaron was studying in Grenoble and we wanted to visit him while he lived there. For the first few days, we stayed in Paris. The previous time I'd been in Paris was my first visit ever, and it was just a brief, two-day taste of it with my sister. We went in April, and it was magical.

This time was not so magical. It wasn't Tyler's fault; it was June's. I don't know why, but I just couldn't handle the heat... despite it being on average only about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It was humid and miserable and I always seemed to be wearing the wrong outfit. (One day I had to make an emergency run to Banana Republic for shorts, which was a weirdly awful experience.) We also tried to do way too much, and our feet suffered as a result.

But looking back on the pictures now, I still feel a kind of wistfulness and a desire to be back there.

We stayed in a tiny AirBnB apartment in Montmartre. We could see La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre from the living room window. It was picture-perfect.









During the days, we walked until we couldn't stand the screaming of our feet, and then we ate, and then we walked some more.

Waiting for brunch... sexily.

We accidentally chose a British cafe for brunch. SO DISAPPOINTING. WHY WOULD YOU GO TO A GOOD FOOD COUNTRY AND THEN EAT BRITISH FOOD. But this kedgeree was pretty okay.



Most of the time we were reduced to begging our servers for carafes of water. I don't understand how little water the French apparently prefer to drink. Wine is all well and good, but when you've been walking for five hours straight in the stupid June heat, you need more than a thimbleful of hydration.

Some months before we visited Paris, I registered us for a Jim Haynes Sunday dinner. Jim Haynes is a well-known American ex-pat who has lived in Paris for decades and has offered delicious, homemade dinners almost every Sunday for those years. Anyone can join, they just need to claim a spot. The dinner was festive, and people from all different countries enjoyed supper side by side. When Tyler and I signed in, Jim looked at me with confusion, thick white brows knitted.

"I thought you were a man," he said, sounding a little disappointed. "I had you down as a man."

"Oh," I laughed nervously, "how funny! Nope, not a man." Happily, it didn't seem to be a real issue and I still got to eat.

The courtyard swarmed with people from multiple nations.
Later, while enjoying our dinners, Tyler and I got the chance to look around the living room. Displayed proudly were books Jim and his many friends had written, and some other literature, and a lot of them seemed to be about free love and adventurous sexcapades. Suddenly, we both got the idea that we had somehow been lured to an orgy and that me not being a man had somehow unbalanced the orgiastic guest list. We became so convinced of our theory that we were almost disappointed when dessert wound down and everyone's clothes were still on. Maybe they waited until we left.

As we hurried back to our apartment that night, clouds rolled in and lightning crackled across the sky. It was pretty cool to watch, even though at some point we were surprised by a sudden torrential rain and stained a bathmat trying to clean up a small puddle in the living room.

It's really hard to get photos of lightning. It doesn't like to hold still.
The next day, we wandered around attempting to be touristy. Tyler wanted to visit the Louvre, but when we arrived he took one look at the line and changed his mind. I was only disappointed because he really wanted to go, but I preferred to avoid the crowds as much as possible.




Instead, we wandered through the Jardin des Tuileries, down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and toward La Tour Eiffel.

Shortly after we crossed this bridge, we heard that this wall had collapsed because of all the weight of the love locks. We had not put a lock on the wall, so we felt a little smug.

The statue on the left is embarrassed because he is naked. The statue on the right is delighted because she is naked.


For a while we sat in the grass near the tower and ate colorful Ladurée macarons, as one does.



Stay tuned for part two!
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